While the floral supply chain has always been complicated, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it infinitely more complex. In order to get fresh flowers, cold chain management has to be organized carefully. Effective management ensures that good product quality is maintained as the cut flowers make their way across the world.
Famers, wholesalers, florists, and others in the supply chain all have to do their part in ensuring this. At the start of the pandemic, the supply chain disruption left florists and retailers dependent on locally grown flowers. However, the industry has now recovered, and steps are being taken to ensure the supply chains are future-proofed.
Cut flowers are perishable and need to reach their final destinations while they’re still fresh. Countries such as Colombia and Ecuador are some of the biggest suppliers in the industry and export cut flowers across the world. Imports are essential for the floral industry to thrive. In the U.S. alone, 82% of the cut flowers sold annually are imported.
One of the ways the floral industry maintains freshness and quick delivery times is through air transport. In addition to being packed in a specific way, a stable temperature must be maintained throughout transport. Cut flowers have to remain between 35° and 39°F at all times so they remain fresh and fragrant. This affects the price of the flowers, and since the start of the pandemic, costs associated with flower industry logistics have increased drastically. Innovative solutions are integral in order to increase efficiency and regulate costs.
Change in transportation methods
Improvements in supply chain transparency have been prioritized. In order to maximize productivity and efficiency, flower industry logistics have embraced digitization and innovations such as artificial intelligence and blockchain. The floral industry has also started to rely on sea freight instead of absorbing the higher costs of air freight. Lack of airfreight availability and capacity restrictions were making the already expensive process even more costly. Sea freight is not only more affordable but can actually help increase efficiency and reduce the large carbon footprint associated with air transport.
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